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Opening Arguments

Take this law and shove it

It's always a good time for a futile gesture:

A central Indiana sheriff says if his county's commissioners pass a law ordering him to ignore a federal assault weapons ban, he might just ignore them instead.
Johnson County Sheriff Doug Cox tells The Indianapolis Star he doesn't work for the commissioners because he's elected by voters.
Johnson County commissioners this week approved a measure ordering Cox to ignore and block any "federal infringement on the right to keep and bear arms" including restrictions on guns, ammunition and a ban on assault weapons. The commissioners must endorse the ordinance a second time before it becomes law.
Commissioners in southeastern Indiana's Franklin County signed into law last month an ordinance exempting the county from federal gun control laws.

Actually, it's probably effective posturing on their part. Most observers doubt an assault weapons ban will even get out of the Democrat-controlled Senate, let alone pass the House. So commissioners get to issue an ignore-the-pesky-feds order that makes them look heroic but will never have to be tested.

States are ignoring the feds with increasing regularity, but it's usually over something the federal government really doesn't care all that much about. Every state with any kind of marijuana approval on the books is defying federal law. But marijuana is something the Obama administration makes threatening noises about but clearly does not consider it a priority. I doubt it would be quite so passive if states start ignoring federal gun laws.


Harl Delos
Sat, 03/16/2013 - 1:52pm

It's not really the sheriff's job to enforce fedr eral laws.  He's sworn to obey the law, but the feds have their own officers, and it's basically up to ATF to enforce federal gun laws.  FWIW, meter maids don't arrest bank robbers, either.

It's politicians doing their posturing here.  The commissioners are expressing their disapproval of gun laws, and a sheriff asserting that it's HIS county, not the commissioners.  I'll bet if you investigated, they tangled earlier over how much the sheriff's budget would be this year.